How to Deal with Your Fears
BY VALERIE CABADONGA
Fear is something that we all have to deal on a daily basis.
Biologically speaking, fear is essential to our survival. It protects us from potential danger and alerts us to respond accordingly.
So if fear tells us to step out of the way of an oncoming car, what makes it the bad guy?
Over the course of our life, we have been conditioned on a series of “no-no’s” that were then unconsciously established as fear such as the embarrassment and humiliation associated with failure, and stepping out of the norm. Over time, we’ve made neural patterns that link events of comparison, failure, unattractiveness, etc. to one big underlying insecurity: not being good enough.
And this type of fear, while technically tries to keep you from harm, it also hinders you to grow. This fear stops you from trying new things. It cripples you to believe and identify yourself as capable and strong person. Fear closes our minds to the infinite possibilities, and make our doubts and insecurities living realities.
Every time we encounter fear, our mind gives us three options on how to respond. We either:
Flee: avoid circumstances that which triggers the fear
Freeze: ingest whatever it is telling us such as what we shouldn’t do, and highlighting our inabilities
Fight: face our fears head on and deal with it.
I’ve done a lot of the first two and I believe you have too, but with a generation consumed by fear, I strongly suggest to seriously take the third option.
It’s about time that we put our fighting gloves on and be fearless. It’s not that we are completely eliminating fear, but being fearless is about having an overwhelming presence of faith that it drowns out fear.
Here are four ways you can deal with your fears:
1. Change your mindset and don’t be afraid to dig deeper.
Our fears live in our minds in a form of a narrative. A narrative is like a script or dialogue that we have with ourselves that negatively impacts us such as “I don’t really have the skills to apply for that job,” “I am not smart enough to study that qualification,” or “they’re not going to like me.”
One of the many ways to deal with our fears is to take captive of these narratives. How? Think about what you are thinking about. First things first, when a negative thought or narrative comes across your mind, rather than giving hate, accept it with love. This way you are willing to understand and dig deeper of the roots and causes of the narrative, and allows you to give grace to yourself over the process. Asking yourself “why am I feeling this way?” is a good start.
As you dig deeper and start believing in the real truths, you begin forming new neural pathways for a healthier mindset filled with strength and love. It may take hundreds of times correcting the false narratives to strengthen the new positive mindset, but I guarantee you that it is worth it!
2. Know your strengths and love who you are.
When we are called to something bigger and greater than ourselves, we are placed in uncomfortable situations (oh, God works in funny ways!), which we have grown to be a no-no zone. This is where fear is overwhelming. Fear will highlight what we do not have and directs us to our narrative of not being good enough. And it’s in times like these that changing our mindset proves to be really worth it.
Changing the way we think also provides us a path to healing by loving ourselves and knowing our strengths. Having a grasp of the truth will allow us to use our strength, values, and talents in the midst of uncomfortable situations.
As you continuously foster and practice these truths, ultimately, the real confidence comes out of the negative rubbish you’ve been covering it with. And this type of confidence is the unwavering kind, it is the physical manifestation of internal faith. The more you unravel the confidence deep within you, the stronger you are to withstand and discern any form of negativity and limiting fears that come your way.
3. Celebrate yourself.
As you continue uprooting each negative narrative and forming new positive and healthy neural pathways, don’t forget to celebrate your progress. Celebrating our progress builds resilience to any future negative narrative or fear.
Take a moment to reflect and be grateful for how far you’ve come and changed for the better. Going through this process doesn’t mean you’ve aced the whole “dealing with fear” thing, but it definitely gives you a heart of appreciation and gratitude. And that is enough to fight off any bad days.
Know more about the power of self-celebration here.
4. Surround yourself with the right community
Facing your fear will - I repeat, will - make you vulnerable, and it is during this time that your community is vital. If you want to continue to live a fearless life, you will need people who get you and will back you up. People who are strong enough to snap back the positivity and love to you when you’ve listened long enough to your fears. People who care for you. People who have also faced their fears and ran with their purpose. Find those types of people in your life and keep them. Keep them close!
If you are surrounded by a community that reinforces every negative narrative and insecurity in your life, then there is a big chance that you have to #KonMari them out of your life - say ‘thank you for the memories’ and leave them behind.
Who you surround yourself can make or break you.
Life always has a way of tossing lemons into your lemonade. It tosses fear in opportunities where you could’ve grown, and there are have been far too many times that I have stopped myself from lunging into something uncertain and exciting because of it. And you know what? That has only left me with “what ifs” and phrases starting “how I wish...”
So I am so over being fearful, and ready to live a fearless life.